Inclusion of People With Peripheral Artery Disease in Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs: A Pan-Canadian Survey
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PURPOSE: To determine the proportion of cardiac rehabilitation programs (CRPs) in Canada that accept referrals for individuals with peripheral artery disease (PAD), eligibility criteria, and barriers/facilitators to inclusion. METHODS: CRPs across Canada were sent a web-based questionnaire. RESULTS: Of 180 questionnaires sent, 98 CRP managers representing 114 CRPs (62.6% of CRPs in Canada) responded. Of respondents, 81.6% accepted referrals for people with PAD; however 44.6% reported that ≤10 patients participated in the previous calendar year; two CRPs had no participants. Of CRPs accepting PAD, 23.7% accepted patients only with coexisting cardiac disease, 68.4% accepted post-lower limb amputees with prosthesis and 53.9% without prosthesis (non-ambulatory). Further, 32.2% did not provide formal/informal PAD-specific education to patients and only 14.3% provided education to staff regarding PAD in the previous 3 years. Three (3) numerical pain scales were used to guide exercise intensity. Within these scales up to four pain thresholds were used. Most frequently cited barriers to participation included lack of referrals (61.6%), and programs being at capacity (59.3%). Frequently cited facilitators were providing information on benefits of CRPs to referral sources (88.3%) and patients (88.3%), providing PAD-specific education to staff (85.5%), and PAD-toolkits for prescribing aerobic/resistance training (81.5%, both). CONCLUSION: Most CRPs accept individuals with PAD, however, few are referred. Inclusion of PAD with and without cardiac disease, collaboration between referral source and CRPs to improve the referral process, and PAD-specific education for staff and information/brochures on benefits of CRPs for patients and referral sources should improve participation and delivery of secondary prevention strategies.
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